Vice is a practice or habit that is considered immoral, depraved, and/or degrading in the associated society. In more minor usage, vice can refer to a fault, a defect, an infirmity, or merely a bad habit. Synonyms for vice include fault, depravity, sin, iniquity, wickedness and corruption. The modern Spanish term that best captures its original meaning is the word "vicious", which means "full of vice." In this sense, the word "vice" comes from the Latin word "vitium", meaning "failing or defect". Vice is the opposite of virtue.

Vice is also a generic legal term for criminal offenses involving prostitution, lewdness, lasciviousness, and obscenity. Illegal forms of gambling are also often included as a vice in law enforcement departments that deal with gambling as a crime.

Overview of religious views on vice

One way of organizing the vices is as the corruption of the virtues. A virtue can be corrupted by nonuse, misuse, or overuse. Thus the cardinal vices would be lust (nonuse of temperance), cowardice (nonuse of courage), folly (misuse of a virtue, opposite of wisdom), and venality (nonuse of justice). See: The four virtues.

The Christian vices

Christians believe there are two kinds of vice: those which originate with the physical organism, as perverse instincts, such as lust; and those which originate with false idolatry in the spiritual realm . The first kind, although sinful, are believed to be less serious than the second. Some vices recognized as spiritual by Christians are blasphemy (holiness betrayed), apostasy (faith betrayed), despair (hope betrayed), hatred (love betrayed), and indifference (scripturally, a "hardened heart"). Christian theologians have reasoned that the most destructive vice equates to a certain type of Pride or the complete idolatry of the self. It is argued that through this vice, which is essentially competitive, all the worst evil comes into being. In Judeo-Christian creeds it led to the fall of man originally, and as a purely diabolical spiritual vice it outweighs anything else often condemned by The Church.

Roman Catholic teachings concerning vices

The Roman Catholic Church distinguishes between vice, which is a habit inclining one to sin, and the sin itself, which is an individual morally wrong act. (Note that in Roman Catholicism, the word sin also refers to the state which befalls one upon committing a morally wrong act; in this section, the word will always mean the sinful act). It is the sin, and not the vice, which deprives one of God's sanctifying grace and makes one deserving of God's punishment. St. Thomas Aquinas therefore taught that "absolutely speaking, the sin surpasses the vice in wickedness" [] . On the other hand, even after a person's sins have been forgiven, the underlying habit, the vice, may remain. Just as vice was created in the first place by repeatedly yielding to the temptation to sin, so vice may be removed only by repeatedly resisting temptation and performing virtuous acts; the more entrenched the vice, the more time and effort needed to remove it. St. Thomas Aquinas says that following rehabilitation and the acquisition of virtues, the vice does not persist as a habit, but rather as a mere disposition, and one that is in the process of being destroyed.

Dante's seven deadly vices

#Pride or Vanity — an excessive love of self (holding self out of proper position toward God or fellows; Dante's definition was "love of self perverted to hatred and contempt for one's neighbor"). In the Latin lists of the Seven Deadly Sins, pride is referred to as superbia.
#Avarice (covetousness, Greed) — a desire to possess more than one has need or use for (or, according to Dante, "excessive love of money and power"). In the Latin lists of the Seven Deadly Sins, avarice is referred to as avaritia.
#Lust — excessive sexual desire. Dante's criterion was "lust detracts from true love". In the Latin lists of the Seven Deadly Sins, lust is referred to as luxuria.
#Wrath or Anger — feelings of hatred, revenge or even denial, as well as punitive desires outside of justice (Dante's description was "love of justice perverted to revenge and spite"). In the Latin lists of the Seven Deadly Sins, wrath is referred to as ira.
#Gluttony — overindulgence in food, drink or intoxicants, or misplaced desire of food as a pleasure for its sensuality ("excessive love of pleasure" was Dante's rendering). In the Latin lists of the Seven Deadly Sins, gluttony is referred to as gula.
#Envy or jealousy; resentment of others for their possessions (Dante: "Love of one's own good perverted to a desire to deprive other men of theirs"). In the Latin lists of the Seven Deadly Sins, envy is referred to as invidia.
#Sloth or Laziness; idleness and wastefulness of time allotted. Laziness is condemned because others have to work harder and useful work can not get done. (also accidie, acedia)

Examples of vices

Some vices recognized in various cultures of the world include:
*child sacrifice
*moral relativism
*poor judgment

Popular usage

The term "vice" is also popularly applied to various activities considered immoral by some; a list of these might include the use of alcohol and other recreational drugs, gambling, smoking, recklessness, cheating, lying, selfishness. It is also used in reference to police vice units who prosecute crimes associated with these activities. Often, vice particularly designates a failure to comply with the sexual mores of the time and place such as sexual promiscuity.

Behaviors or attitudes going against the established virtues of the culture may also be called vices: for instance, effeminacy is considered a vice in a culture espousing masculinity as an essential element of the character of males.

is a video game developed by Rockstar North. All Grand Theft Auto games feature vices in the form of drugs, alcohol and violence, particularly gang violence in the vein of films like Scarface.

ee also

* Vice unit
* Virtue
* Sin
* Golden mean (philosophy)
* Roman decadence


*"Virtues and Vices", Aristotle, trans. H. Rackman, Loeb Classical Library, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA, l992. Vol #285.
*"In the Garden of Evil: The Vices and Culture in the Middle Ages". Edited by Richard Newhauser, Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies, Toronto 2005 ISBN 0-88844-818-X


*All etymologies are according to the "Oxford English Dictionary".

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  • vice — vice …   Dictionnaire des rimes

  • vice — [ vis ] n. m. • 1138; lat. vitium I ♦ 1 ♦ Vieilli LE VICE : disposition habituelle au mal; conduite qui en résulte. ⇒ immoralité, 3. mal, péché. « L hypocrisie est un hommage que le vice rend à la vertu » (La Rochefoucauld). Le vice et la… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • vice- — ♦ Particule invariable, du lat. vice « à la place de, pour », qui se joint à quelques noms ou titres de fonctions exercées en second, à la place de qqn. ⇒ adjoint, remplaçant. ● vice Préfixe, du latin vice, à la place de, exprimant une fonction… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • vice — 1. (vi s ) s. m. 1°   Défaut, imperfection grave (ce qui est le premier sens de vitium, en latin). Vice de forme. Il y a un vice considérable dans cet acte. •   Il est étrange que Corneille ait senti le vice de son sujet, et qu il n ait pas senti …   Dictionnaire de la Langue Française d'Émile Littré

  • Vice — Personaje de The King of Fighters Primera aparición The King of Fighters 96 Voz original Masae Yumi Primera aparición en KOF The King of Fighters …   Wikipedia Español

  • Vice — Vice, a. [Cf. F. vice . See {Vice}, prep.] Denoting one who in certain cases may assume the office or duties of a superior; designating an officer or an office that is second in rank or authority; as, vice president; vice agent; vice consul, etc …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Vice — Vice, n. [F., from L. vitium.] 1. A defect; a fault; an error; a blemish; an imperfection; as, the vices of a political constitution; the vices of a horse. [1913 Webster] Withouten vice of syllable or letter. Chaucer. [1913 Webster] Mark the vice …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • vice — Vice, Vitium. Un vice qui est quand une personne baaille souvent, Oscedo oscediþnis. Quand il s en faut quelque partie, c est un grand vice, Deesse aliquam partem mendosum est. Vices couvers et cachez, Vicia infucata aut tecta. Vices qui s en… …   Thresor de la langue françoyse

  • vice — S3 [vaıs] n [Sense: 1 3; Date: 1200 1300; : Old French; Origin: Latin vitium fault, vice ] 1.) [U] criminal activities that involve sex or drugs ▪ the fight against vice on the streets ▪ The police have smashed a vice ring (=a group of criminals… …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • vice — S3 [vaıs] n [Sense: 1 3; Date: 1200 1300; : Old French; Origin: Latin vitium fault, vice ] 1.) [U] criminal activities that involve sex or drugs ▪ the fight against vice on the streets ▪ The police have smashed a vice ring (=a group of criminals… …   Dictionary of contemporary English

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